Bibb County's board of education on Thursday gave a Macon group their approval to open a charter school in 2012.
By a unanimous vote, the board supported a petition from the Macon Academy of Excellence, Inc.
They plan to open for business in August 2012 for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
The school's governing board chair, Gail Fowler, a former Bibb teacher and principal, says they are considering opening the school at the site of the former Gilead Christian Academy, on Rocky Creek Road, in Bibb County. She says they could look at other locations and have until May 2012 to finalize the site.
School Supt. Romain Dallemand recommended approval of the plan. Last week, he told the board that Bibb parents need more education options, given the "sad and depressing" state of the district's public schools.
"When you look at the data that I shared last week," Dallemand said, "at this point I
think we need to be open to all kinds of possibilities for our
Explaining his reasons to board members for supporting the petition, Dallemand said students at the charter school will be taught foreign languages daily.
"Our students are living in a multi-ethnic economy and they need to be
able to communicate with others from different parts of the globe,"
The charter school would be a public school of the Bibb County school district. Fowler says a charter school management company, Charter Schools USA, would handle the school's day-to-day operations. Students would attend longer school days and the school would require parent involvement through volunteerism, organizers say.
The school is open to all Bibb students who apply on a first-come, first-served basis, unless they receive more than 560 applicants. Fowler says then, they would use a lottery system to fill spots.
"Parents have a right to a
choice, a choice for quality education," Fowler said, "He [Dallemand] has demonstrated that yes
there is a concern with education in this district, but something must
be done about it...this is certainly a step in the right direction to make these improvements."
The Macon Academy of Excellence plan still needs approval from the state Department of Education. Fowler says they hope to hear back from the state board in May.